Andrés Feliz, Joventut’s new hero: “Basketball has been my escape route from crime”

This last week will be hard to forget for Andrew Happy Sarita (07/15/97 Santo Domingo), a Dominican point guard whose name has spread from mouth to mouth in Badalona in the last 24 hours. Sunday was the hero of the Joventut with his 21 points in the victory against barca in a derby played in the Olympic in front of more than 12,000 people, the best entrance of the last decade. Three days before he premiered paternity. His wife Lisa Wygalwhom he met at the University of Illinois, where he shone with the Fighting Illini and graduated in Sociology, gave birth to little Dralen.

“I feel great for fatherhood, because the child and the mother are well and also for the victory & rdquor ;, he summed up Happy this Monday in a conversation with El Periódico, “because we beat a great team, one of the best in Europe, and with a full pavilion and it was very important for us”.

There weren’t too many references. Andrew Happywho arrived in Spain in February 2021 to join CB Prat, in the LEB silver, the third division of basketball. The end of his university stage coincided with the pandemic and his search for a good contract was complicated until the subsidiary of the Penya, whom he helped to ascend with averages of 19 points.

His career had been discreet until now (5.4 points and 1.4 assists on average). But the casualties due to injury of the two bases that have limited his presence, Guillem Vives and Ferran Bassas, They gave him a title against Barça that he knew how to take advantage of. “For me it means a lot, because I was given an opportunity and I was able to respond with the help of my colleagues & rdquor ;, remarks Feliz, who is enjoying his first professional experience, with a contract until June 2023, and assures that he continues to learn. “The jump to ACB was difficult because the level is very high and the rival punishes you for every mistake you make.”

Grown up on the tough streets of Guachupita, a slum of Santo Domingo, with daily water and electricity cuts, Andrew Happy acknowledges that basketball has allowed him to escape from a hard life. “It was a difficult neighborhood, very poor, where drugs and crime are very close. Basketball was for me an escape route from all that. I appreciate the courage and bravery of my parents, who took me away from that path. Today I am proof that even if you are from a very poor neighborhood, if you trust in God and make an effort, you can escape & rdquor ;, says the green-black point guard, who recognizes himself as a very believer.

Duran’s Praise

His skill on a basketball court, where his father took him from a very young age, first opened the doors for him to the lower categories of the Dominican team. And then, on a trip to a CentroBasketgave him the opportunity to go to the US on a scholarship to enter the West Oaks Academy in Orlando. “At first it was hard, at 16 years old, not knowing a word of English, away from my family. But that allowed me to focus and manage to finish my university studies and now be an example for many young people”, remarks the Dominican, who feels proud to be part of a club with so much history through which players like Ricky Rubio. “I have always followed Ricky for his way of controlling the game, also Tony Parker and I am inspired by Lebron’s leadership & rdquor ;.

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His performance also made Carlos Duran, the Penya technician. “Andrés is the example of when you enter this League you need time to adapt to understand the game and get to know your teammates. And if Andrés has one thing, it is that he believes a lot in himself, but at the same time he is very humble & rdquor ;, points out the green-black coach. “On the one hand, he does not want to be a scoring point guard, but he has a lot of points in his hands and he is a physical point guard, who can attack and defend and who in March is being our engine & rdquor ;, sentences Duran.

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